Your road rid­ing

BIKE (UK) - - ON ANY SUNDAY -

Jonathan Pear­son, Off-road Edi­tor

When I was grow­ing up, rid­ing most week­ends at tri­als and pro­gress­ing from club to cen­tre then na­tional and even­tu­ally in­ter­na­tional level, I couldn’t have cared less about other types of bikes. Tri­als was it. Then I was asked if I could go on a road test for Bike’s sis­ter ti­tle RIDE. The thing is, I’d never rid­den a road bike. But when asked, ‘can you do us a few wheel­ies?’ I just did. ‘Could you do a stop­pie on that dark patch in the mid­dle of the road?’ Yes. It wasn’t ar­ro­gance or the care­less­ness of youth, but a com­plete trust in my skill to judge speed, balance and feel for grip. If ever there was a per­fect ex­am­ple of how a lo­cal club trial can help you as a road rider, the Wy­combe trial I rode with John was it. In­tel­li­gent use of the brakes? You need it when a sec­tion drops down a slimy bank to a 90 de­gree left. Throt­tle con­trol? Some­times you have to ask so, so nicely for grip it is like walk­ing on ice or hold­ing your first child. Feel is ev­ery­thing when you want to ride a bike through a tri­als sec­tions, feel to stop that back wheel spin­ning when you twist the throt­tle, feel for the front brake to slow you down when grav­ity is con­spir­ing to speed you up, feel for where your weight should be to make it slither along a greasy cam­ber. Want to be able to walk be­fore you can run? Take up tri­als.

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